Erkenntnis:1-22 (forthcoming)

Samuel Murray
Duke University
Theories of free will are often measured against how well they capture everyday intuitions about free will. But what are these everyday intuitions, and what theoretical commitments do they express? Empirical methods have delivered mixed messages. In response, some free will theorists have developed error theories to undermine the credentials of countervailing intuitions. These efforts are predicated on the idea that people might misunderstand determinism in any of several ways. This paper sheds light on the comprehension problem. We first discuss recent efforts to explain systematic errors in how people interpret determinism. Then, we present the alarming results of two new preregistered studies exploring three types of comprehension failure: epiphenomenal bypassing, fatalistic bypassing, and indeterministic intrusion. Our findings suggest that misunderstanding runs deeper than others have supposed. This casts doubt on existing models of commonsense thinking about free will. Unless and until researchers properly control for the kinds of misunderstandings we identify, research on free will intuitions cannot shed light on whether ordinary thinking reflects commitments to compatibilism or incompatibilism.
Keywords free will  determinism  intuitions  incompatibilism  compatibilism
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10670-021-00465-y
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Translate to english
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

An Essay on Free Will.Peter Van Inwagen - 1983 - Oxford University Press.
Living Without Free Will.Derk Pereboom - 2001 - Cambridge University Press.

View all 51 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Experimental Evidence for Free Will Revisionism.Chris Weigel - 2013 - Philosophical Explorations 16 (1):31 - 43.
Experimental Philosophy on Free Will: An Error Theory for Incompatibilist Intuitions.Eddy Nahmias & Dylan Murray - 2010 - In Jesus Aguilar, Andrei Buckareff & Keith Frankish (eds.), New Waves in Philosophy of Action. Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 189--215.
Free Will and the Burden of Proof: William G. Lycan.William G. Lycan - 2003 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 53:107-122.
The Incompatibility of Free Will and Determinism.Peter Van Inwagen - 1975 - Philosophical Studies 27 (3):185 - 199.
Free Will: The Scandal in Philosophy.Bob Doyle - 2011 - Cambridge, MA, USA: I-Phi Press.
How to Think About the Free Will/Determinism Problem.Kadri Vihvelin - 2011 - In Michael O'Rourke, Joseph Keim Campbell & Matthew H. Slater (eds.), Carving Nature at its Joints: Natural Kinds in Metaphysics and Science. MIT Press. pp. 314--340.


Added to PP index

Total views
111 ( #104,065 of 2,498,305 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
37 ( #23,456 of 2,498,305 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes